NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand has launched a US$19.7 million programme with Dairy Goat Co-operative, which develops, manufactures, and sells nutritional goat and cow milk products to grow the goat’s milk infant formula industry in the country.

According to FoodBev, the initiative aims to grow research and farming capability and boost export revenue across the country’s goat’s milk industry to US$265.8 million per annum by 2023.

The programme, called Caprine Innovations NZ (Caprinz), is a five-year deal which sees the co-operative work alongside New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“Our Caprinz PGP (Primary Growth Partnership) programme aims to strengthen the position of goat’s milk infant formula as the preferred alternative to conventional milk infant formula,” said Dairy Goat Co-operative chief executive David Hemara.

“We recognise breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for babies and infants. Our aim through this PGP programme with MPI is to target consumers in New Zealand and overseas by meeting demand in situations where breastfeeding requires supplementation or isn’t feasible.”

The company added that the initiative aims to develop innovative tools to enable all New Zealand goat farmers to measure and improve their performance, while ensuring any economic gains don’t come at the expense of the rural environment.

“Because many dairy goat farm systems use off-paddock animal housing facilities, there’s the opportunity to decrease the environmental impact of pastoral farming through conversions from other farming systems.

Our programme aims to increase dairy goat numbers in the long term by 50% to over 100,000.”

Ministry for Primary Industries director-general Martyn Dunne believes the initiative will deliver a number of industry-wide benefits,” added Hemara.

“In addition to the economic benefits, the Caprinz PGP programme also aims to create more than 400 new jobs on-farm, improve dairy goat farming practice and sustainable production, and boost capability across the industry,” he said.

“It will also grow New Zealand’s research capability in the science of high-value nutrition and health, and establish a dairy goat research farm to deliver and trial its innovations.

The Caprinz PGP programme meets our criteria for investment, such as an innovation focus, delivering economic and environmental benefits, and a focus on the value chain.”

He added that due to the uniqueness of New Zealand pastoral farming, developments by the programme won’t be able to be easily replicated overseas, ensuring benefits are retained in New Zealand.

“We’re excited about the benefits expected from the programme and the difference it’ll make for New Zealand’s goat milk industry.”